PETALING JAYA: Parents want mobile phones to be allowed in schools because many laptops and tablets have similar functions anyway.
Melaka Action Group for Parents in Education chairman Mak Chee Kin said it would be difficult for teachers to impose a selective ruling because the line between phones and devices such as tablets was becoming increasingly blurred.
“I find this (exclusion of phones) silly! Will teachers have to check before classes that the device isn’t a phone?” he asked.
On the Internet infrastructure available in schools, which would be necessary for devices that needed WiFi or other network facilities to go online, Mak said not allowing phones would put even more pressure on schools’ broadband capacity.
“How about the Internet connection? Even now, teachers are fighting for broadband. It will become even more pressing once students need the Internet as part of their lessons,” he said in response to Education Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid’s announcement that students will be allowed to bring mobile devices such as laptops and tablets to school, but not mobile phones.
Parent Action Group for Education Malaysia chairman Datin Noor Azimah Abdul Rahim said disallowing phones was irrelevant because many other devices now had apps that gave them similar functions.
She said international schools already allowed their students to use phones in class, though most were kept too busy with schoolwork to spend time on their phones.
She added that it came down to engaging students, not restricting some devices over others. But some teachers said they would prefer if students were only limited to bringing laptops or notebooks to class.
One teacher said that unlike laptops, mobile phones and tablets could easily be hidden from view.
“When they open the laptop, we can see what the students are doing,” he said.
He added that it was easier to prevent students from accessing undesirable sites as they would be limited by the school’s Internet connectivity.
“Who knows what the students are doing if they place their phones on their laps or under the desk?” he asked.
“We can block sites that we do not want them seeing in the classroom,” he said, adding that laptops depend solely on WiFi or a network connection to get online.